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EALA Cuts EAC Budget by USD 6 Million

The decision puts to an end the prolonged process which commenced in September 2020, when EALA assed a total sum of USD 104,063,020, for the Organs and Institutions of the EAC for the year. The EAC Partner States, however, raised reservations on the variation of the budget estimates, necessitating the recommittal of the said piece of legislation to the House.
The East African Community will have to do with a smaller budget for this year than earlier planned, after the Legislative Assembly (EALA) cut the Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2020/21, by more than USD 6 million.

The decision puts to an end the prolonged process which commenced in September 2020, when EALA assed a total sum of USD 104,063,020, for the Organs and Institutions of the EAC for the year. The EAC Partner States, however, raised reservations on the variation of the budget estimates, necessitating the recommittal of the said piece of legislation to the House.

The House adjourned in December 2020, before reconsideration of the EAC Appropriation Bill 2020. However, the same debate which was interrupted on Dec 10, 2020, resumed on Thursday on the report of the Committee on General Purpose on the reconsideration of the Bill, presented to the House in November, by the committee.

The report recommends among other things, the need for the reallocation of funds to reinstate the activities of the Secretariat, additional funding for EALA plenary sessions and extra days for Court Sessions among other things.

The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers and State Minister for EAC, Republic of Rwanda, Prof Nshuti Manasseh noted the revision of the budget estimates was presented at a time the EAC region as well as the globe, continues reeling from the effects and after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to lockdowns and a slowdown in economic activities.

Under the new vote, the EAC Secretariat is to receive USD 48,564,401, while the East African Legislative Assembly gets USD 16,755,725.  The secretariat's budget has been increased by USD 564,000 while the one for the Assembly gets cut by USD 6,312,000. The allocation for the East African Court of Justice also reduces by USD 228,000 to 3,970,406, while USD 8,380,057 is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.

The Assembly further approved USD 1,536,751 for the activities of the East African Science and Technology Commission and USD 1,399,318 for the activities of the East African Kiswahili Commission.

Furthermore, the East African Health Research Commission is to benefit from USD 1,879,600, East African Competition Authority USD 1,128,240, the Inter-University Council for East Africa, USD 10,977,276 and Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) USD 3,077,934.

Of the total approved budget, the Assembly reallocated USD 518,050 to other activities considered pertinent to the integration agenda, given the available resources.

EALA Member Maryam Ussi said consensus making was the hallmark of the integration process, adding that the Council of Ministers’ had given direction on the ceiling of the budget. However, Council chair, Nshuti Manasseh urged the Assembly to revisit the figures and cap it at the proposed figure of USD 97,669,708 as contained in the budget speech delivered in September 2020.

He reiterated the position of Rwanda as a Partner State, was in agreement that the Assembly could resolve the contentious issue of the number of days of actual Sitting, within the stipulated figures.

EAC Cabinet Secretary for Kenya, Adan Mohammed, took the same position reiterating the contentious issue as understood, had remained the specific line items within EALA, given that the overall ceiling was already agreed upon.

"It's important for the Council of Ministers not to be seen to be micro-managing for so long, as the established budget ceiling was not surpassed. “The expenditures that the Partner States commit to is what we stand by, and if the contentious issues are the days of sitting, then let us allow EALA to proceed in that manner”, he said. 

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